Right to counsel

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Legislation, Custody Disputes - Children

In any child custody or visitation proceeding, the court will appoint an attorney to represent the child if, in the hearing, a prima facie case is presented that a parent or other person caring for the child has sexually, physically or emotionally abused the child, or knew or should have known that the child was being abused. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:345(B).


Otherwise, the court may appoint an attorney to represent the child if, after a hearing, the court determines that the appointment of counsel would be in the best interest of the child. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:345(A).   See also La. C.C. Art. 136(B) (in proceeding to determine whether to award visitation to grandparent or other relative, “the court shall hold a contradictory hearing as provided for in R.S. 9:345 in order to determine whether the court should appoint an attorney to represent the child.”)


The costs of the representation will be apportioned among the parties as the court determines, and if the parties' ability to pay is limited, the court may attempt to secure representation without compensation. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:345(F).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes